Kujtim Çashku’s Colonel Bunker focuses on the man charged with “the bunkerisation” of Albania, one of the most absurd acts of the country’s paranoid leader that resulted in the erection of thousands of concrete bunkers meant to protect the nation in in the event of an attack from Western imperialist powers. These semi-destroyed concrete bunkers litter Albania’s landscape today and have become a sort of an embarrassing visual trademark of the country.
The Colonel lives in constant overwhelming fear, yet, as a true military man, he never seems to question the madness which he perpetuates. Once the task of building the bunkers is over, he is asked to test them personally by sitting inside one and letting himself being bombarded; then he is interned into a camp, a fate that befalls even the most dedicated servants of the regime. He becomes victim of the system and is gradually destroyed by it. His inner contradictions, however, remain difficult to grasp because the very authority that generates the paranoia does not figure in the film
For a more detailed analysis of the director’s films, see Gareth Jones’ essay in the special supplement I edited for the Cineaste (Summer 2007). The film’s web-site also provides some extra information.
© Dina Iordanova
2 July 2008